A district court judge in Haifa, Dr. Menachem Raniel, ruled in favor of a girl left permanently disabled by complications during her birth – complications, she claims, that were a direct result of the poor judgment of a hospital official.
According to the ruling, the director of the Ziv Medical Center’s delivery ward at the time of the birth had decided against performing a Caesarean section, despite signs of likely complications in a natural birth and against the recommendation of the specialist who had examined the mother.
When complications arose during the birth, doctors were forced to undertake drastic measures to free the baby from the birth canal. In the process, the baby was partially paralyzed in one arm and completely paralyzed in the other.
The Health Ministry had claimed that an X-ray image of the mother showed that a regular birth was possible, but during the course of the trial it was revealed that the X-ray image could not be found.
Judge Raniel ruled that the failure to locate the X-ray image shifted the burden of proof onto the hospital. The plaintiff was awarded roughly three million shekels ($800,000) in damages.
The judge also excoriated the former delivery ward director, who refused to read the case file during her testimony to refresh her memory, over her claims that she could not remember the details of the case.